The two-time Oscar winner has been dropped by his agent and publicist, and Netflix has suspended production on the final season of House of Cards.
As sexual harassment and assault allegations against a number of powerful men continue to ricochet around Hollywood (as well as other industries), perhaps the most familiar name on the list of men accused of sexual assault is that of Kevin Spacey, a two-time Oscar winner, decorated Broadway and theater vet, and the star of Netflix’s House of Cards.
Since October 29, when BuzzFeed published allegations made by actor Anthony Rapp that Spacey made a sexual advance toward Rapp when Rapp was 14, at least eight more men have come forward with their own allegations against Spacey, with accounts ranging from harassment to attempted rape.
The allegations have brought about a flood of damage control from Hollywood companies seeking to distance themselves from the actor. Netflix, Spacey’s agent, his publicist, and the industry at large have all backed away from him.
Here’s what we know so far about the allegations that have surfaced against Spacey, and the fallout that’s ensued.
Anthony Rapp accused Spacey of assaulting him when Rapp was 14. Spacey deflected by coming out as gay.
Rapp is a veteran Broadway actor best known for originating the role of Mark in Rent; he’s currently playing Star Trek’s first openly gay character on the CBS All Access series Star Trek: Discovery. He told BuzzFeed that Spacey befriended him in 1986, when Rapp was 14 years old and performing in the Broadway play Precious Sons. According to Rapp, Spacey made “a sexual advance” toward him while he was attending a party at Spacey’s home.
After his claims went public on October 29, Rapp stated on Twitter that he was coming forward in solidarity with the dozens of women who’ve made allegations against Harvey Weinstein, as well as other assault survivors, “standing on the shoulders of the many courageous women and men who have been speaking out to shine a light and hopefully make a difference.”
Spacey responded to Rapp’s allegations by issuing a statement on Twitter in which he said he owed Rapp “the sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior.” Spacey then added, “This story has encouraged me to address other things about my life. I know that there are stories out there about me and that some have been fueled by the fact I have been so protective of my privacy. … I choose now to live as a gay man. I want to deal with this honestly and openly and that starts with examining my own behavior.”
The statement marked the first time Spacey had ever officially publicly confirmed his sexuality, which is usually something to celebrate. But many people interpreted his statement and his choice to come out in response to Rapp’s allegations as an attempt to distract from the seriousness of the charge that he had preyed on an underage target. Backlash was swift, as Spacey’s move was widely rejected and criticized, with some observers decrying the way it helped fuel a damaging myth that conflates queer male identity with pedophilia.
And in the days that followed, several other accusers came forward to make their own allegations against Spacey, challenging his implication that his behavior was an isolated incident of irresponsible drunkenness.
Several more accusers have come forward against Spacey with allegations that span decades. Here’s a rundown.
Since Rapp came forward, numerous other allegations against Spacey have surfaced. Including Rapp, at least eight men have made specific claims against the actor. Many of Spacey’s accusers describe a pattern of alleged behavior from him that, like Weinstein, involved using the lure of his success and the opportunity of career mentorship to put himself into a position where he could then prey on young men.
Here are the allegations we know so far.
1983–1984: anonymous 14-year-old boy
An anonymousman told New York magazine that in 1983, when he was 14 and Spacey was 24, he began a sexual relationship with Spacey that allegedly culminated in Spacey attempting to rape him.
The anonymous actor stated that his relationship with Spacey lasted about a year, during which time he became aware that “25-year-olds don’t have sex with 14- and 15-year-olds, that that’s wrong, that I was not the guilty party and I could leave.” He told New York that the relationship ended when he was 15, after Spacey allegedly attempted to rape him.
“Mr. Spacey absolutely denies the allegations,” a representative for Spacey told the magazine.
1985: anonymous 17-year-old boy
The BBC reported on November 1 that Spacey allegedly approached an anonymous 17-year-old boy in 1985, befriending the teen and then ultimately inviting him to visit his home, where Spacey progressed from being “charming and brotherly” to sexually inappropriate. After rejecting Spacey’s initial advances, the accuser says he woke up to find “Spacey’s head on his stomach and his arms wrapped around him.” The anonymous source described Spacey to the BBC as “either very stupid or predatory or … both,” and noted that Spacey had not been drunk during their encounter.
“It seems he was grooming me,” the anonymous source told the BBC.
2003: director Tony Montana
Director Tony Montana was the second person to publicly come forward with an allegation against Spacey. On October 31, he told gossip website Radar Online that Spacey physically assaulted him in 2003, when Montana was in his 30s. Montana alleges that Spacey approached him in a bar, groped him, and said, “this designates ownership” as he did so. “I had PTSD for six months after” the incident, Montana said.
Dates unspecified: actor Robert Cavazos
Mexican actor Robert Cavazos discussed past encounters with Spacey in a Facebook post (written in Spanish) on November 1. Cavazos says he met Spacey through the Old Vic Theatre in London, where Spacey was the artistic director from 2004 to 2015. Cavazos alleges that Spacey touched him inappropriately numerous times, and said that Spacey would frequently grope men while hanging out at the Old Vic’s bar.
“It appears that all that was needed was a male under the age of 30 for Mr. Spacey to feel free to touch us,” Cavazos wrote. “It was so common that it turned into a local joke (in very bad taste).”
2008: anonymous 23-year-old man
According to Variety, Scotland Yard is investigating a claim that a man who is believed to be Spacey assaulted a 23-year-old bartender in London in 2008. “On 1 November, City of London police referred an allegation of sexual assault to the Metropolitan police service,” a Scotland Yard spokesperson said in a press statement released November 3. “It is alleged a man assaulted another man in 2008 in Lambeth. Officers from the child abuse and sexual offences command are investigating.”
Though Scotland Yard has not named Spacey as the alleged perpetrator, Variety notes that the incident being investigated took place in the South London neighborhood of Lambeth, where Spacey maintains a home. The details, which were first reported by the British tabloid the Sun, allegedly involve the victim approaching Spacey to ask for help with his career, passing out after smoking weed at Spacey’s apartment, and waking up to find Spacey performing oral sex on him. The man, who is now 32, is said to have reported the incident to police this week, after other allegations against Spacey became public.
2010: Daniel Beal
A British bartender named Daniel Beal told the Sun that Spacey flashed his genitals at him in 2010, while Beal was working at a bar in West Sussex. Beal, then 19, photographed himself at the time wearing an expensive watch, which was allegedly given to him by Spacey shortly after the incident, apparently to buy his silence.
2012 to 2017: multiple anonymous cast and crew members on the set of Netflix’s House of Cards
On November 2, CNN reported that multiple cast and crew members working on the House of Cards set allege that Spacey engaged in harassment and created a toxic environment during the production. A total of eight sources told CNN that Spacey’s behavior was “predatory,” or that he harassed or initiated nonconsensual physical contact with production crew or had targeted young men. One anonymous crew member said Spacey routinely touched him inappropriately throughout the six seasons he worked on set, and that he did not “feel comfortable” asking Spacey to stop.
Additionally, a former House of Cards production assistant who reported Spacey’s behavior to a supervisor told CNN that a supervisor resolved the problem by attempting to make sure Spacey and the assistant were segregated while on set. Months after the implementation of this practice, Spacey allegedly sexually assaulted the production assistant while they were driving in a car together. The crew member did not report the assault.
Netflix and the Old Vic Theatre have responded to the allegations against Spacey by distancing themselves from the actor
Many current and former employers and associates of Spacey’s have been quick to denounce the allegations made against actor, and to attempt to distance themselves from reports of his alleged behavior.
One day after BuzzFeed published Rapp’s allegations against Spacey, the Hollywood Reporter confirmed that House of Cards will end with its sixth season, noting that “official word on its conclusion, which has been in the works since the summer, comes at a problematic time for Spacey.”
Netflix, along with House of Cards production studio Media Rights Capital, latersuspended production on the show entirely. “MRC and Netflix have decided to suspend production on House of Cards season six until further notice,” read a joint press statement, “to give us time to review the current situation and to address any concerns of our cast and crew.”
MRC has claimed to have no knowledge of outstanding or unresolved complaints made against Spacey. In a statement to CNN, the company claimed to have handled any incidents brought to its attention:
[D]uring our first year of production in 2012, someone on the crew shared a complaint about a specific remark and gesture made by Kevin Spacey. Immediate action was taken following our review of the situation and we are confident the issue was resolved promptly to the satisfaction of all involved. Mr. Spacey willingly participated in a training process and since that time MRC has not been made aware of any other complaints involving Mr. Spacey.
Netflix told CNN that “Netflix was just made aware of one incident, five years ago, that we were informed was resolved swiftly,” but that it was “not aware of any other incidents involving Kevin Spacey on-set.” Netflix stated it was committed to “maintain[ing] a safe and respectful working environment,” while MRC announced that it had established “an anonymous complaint hotline, crisis counselors, and sexual harassment legal advisors for the crew.”
Meanwhile, since the news concerning Spacey has surfaced, the Old Vic has battled accusations that staff members of the theater knew about the actor’s alleged longstanding pattern of harassment and predatory behavior, but did nothing to stop it.
According to the Guardian, multiple Old Vic employees witnessed Spacey behaving inappropriately at the theater company during his tenure as artistic director, quoting one anonymous former staffer who said, “We were all involved in keeping it quiet. I witnessed him groping men many times in all sorts of different situations.”
In a statement to the press, the theater said, “The Old Vic is not currently in a position to comment on specifics of what may have taken place in the past,” and encouraged anyone with information or concerns about Spacey to email the theater at [email protected]
The consequences Spacey is facing so far have been wide-ranging and immediate
Since Rapp’s allegations against Spacey became public, Spacey has suffered the following career setbacks:
Netflix suspended production of House of Cards, and has additionally not responded to questions about whether Gore, a planned 2018 Netflix movie with Spacey in the lead, will move forward. Variety reported on November 3 that House of Cards producers were considering killing off Spacey’s character, Frank Underwood, for the show’s final season.
The International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, which produces the annual International Emmy Awards (a global edition of the Emmys), rescinded its previously announced plans to honor Spacey with an International Emmy Founders Award, an honor given to “an individual who crosses cultural boundaries to touch humanity.”
Ridley Scott’s All the Money in the World, in which Spacey plays J. Paul Getty,is still scheduled for a 2017 holiday release, but production studio Tri-Star has scrapped what was to have been an aggressive marketing and awards season campaign built around Spacey’s performance.
The online learning program MasterClass removed from its catalog a five-hour online acting course created by Spacey.
Spacey’s representation at Hollywood’s prestigious Creative Artists Agency, as well as his publicist, Staci Wolfe, have reportedly dropped him from their client lists. This news came a week after CAA dropped Game Change author and political journalist Mark Halperin from its client list following sexual assault allegations against him.
Spacey’s representatives said in a brief statement released to the Hollywood Reporter on November 1 that Spacey “is taking the time necessary to seek evaluation and treatment.”
The fallout from the allegations against Spacey is in line with the ongoing ramifications of the scandal surrounding disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, which kicked off in October after the New York Times and the New Yorker both published allegations made by several women against the megaproducer.Since then, continued reports of Weinstein’s alleged pattern of serial sexual abuse have sparked an industry-wide callout of sexual harassment and assault, which has in turn spread beyond Hollywood to other industries like the media and academia. To many, the wave of allegations has started to feel like a signal of a major cultural shift in how we think about systemic sexism and patterns of sexual assault, and in how we socially arbitrate the stories of survivors.
On some level, Rapp’s accusation against Spacey served as a litmus test to determine if such a cultural shift could impact the careers of A-list actors. Judging by the ramifications Spacey has experienced thus far, it seems as though many in Hollywood are attempting to send a clear message about how important it is to listen to victims and take claims of assault and harassment seriously. But Spacey isn’t the only alleged sexual predator in Hollywood, or the only one who’s led a successful career despite his behavior apparently being an open secret. Whether Hollywood will be willing to do the work of uprooting the powerful figures who abuse their influence, and make real changes to prevent more predation from occurring, is now the major question on everyone’s minds.